Spotted Around New York: The Gage & Tollner Building
There is a hidden Renaissance happening at 372 Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn. For over one hundred years the building’s ground floor was home to a legendary steakhouse and oyster bar, Gage & Tollner. Over the years, the menu of that exquisite space had changed from “clam bellies, hashed browned potatoes in cream and mutton chops to an impressive array of fresh fish and vegetables.” But in 2004, the iconic restaurant was replaced by an outpost of Arby’s, the fast food chain. Fortunately, the interior of the original restaurant had been landmarked – one of only a few restaurants in the city to have that status- and the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission retained oversight of any proposed changes to its design. That was fortuitous, because the wall of Gilded Age mirrors, the ornate mahogany bar, and embossed gold wallpaper were preserved intact after the sandwich shop closed less than a year later.
After a stint as a discount jewelry store, the magnificent space was rediscovered by a trio of Brooklyn restauranteurs dedicated to restoring the space to its former glory. This gem of an architectural setting inspired the owners of The Good Fork, a restaurant in Red Hook, to envision the space as a setting for the flavors of a modern steakhouse and cocktail bar. Will the original 36 gas lamps, walls of burgundy velvet, cherry wood arches, room length mirrors, and the impressive bar of the original 1892 design be repurposed in the restored space? One thing is certain: this fantastic relic of the Gilded Age will continue to survive!
Photo by Susan De Vries for Brownstoner.com. More images can be found in her article, “See the Amazingly Preserved, Mellowed Grandeur of Gilded Age Chop House Gage & Tollner.”